There is a major movement going on in the electronics and computer industries to develop wearable devices for whatâ„¢s being called Post-PC era. We are now at the dawn of that era and some of these devices are already making their way to the consumer market .Computerized clothes will be the next step in making computers and devices portable without having to strap electronics into our body. These digital clothes will able to perform some of the PC functions. These devices are small in size and portable. This apparel can be used to read our heart rate and breathing. The LED monitors could even be integrated into this apparel to display text and images.
Wearable computer comprises of a computer built within an ordinary clothing. This transformation allows it to be worn constantly, with the goal of becoming a seamless extension of body and mind. Equipped with various sensors which measure heart rate, respiration, footstep rate etc, the apparatus can function as a personal safety device for reducing crime, as well as personal health monitor for improving health care by encouraging individuals to take an active role in diagnosis and body maintenance. The Ëœwearable computerâ„¢ apparatus is embedded within nontransparent clothing which provides shielding. Electronic circuits are built entirely out of textiles to distribute data and power and perform touch sensing. These circuits are passive components sewn from conductive yarns as well as conventional components to create interactive electronic devices, such as musical keyboards and graphic input surfaces.
There are three operational modes in this new interaction between human and computer.
Constancy : The computer runs continuously, and is always ready to interact with the user. Unlike hand-held device, laptop computer, or PDA, it does not need to be opened up and turned on prior to use. The signal flow from human to computer, and computer to human, runs continuously to provide a constant user interface.
Augmentation: Traditional computing paradigms are based on the notion that computing is the primary task. Wearable computing, however, is based on the notion that computing is NOT the primary task. The assumption of wearable computing is that the user will be doing something else at the same time as doing the computing. Thus the computer should serve to augment the intellect, or augment the senses.
Mediation: Unlike hand held devices, laptop computers, and PDAs, the wearable computer can encapsulate us. It doesnâ„¢t necessarily need to completely enclose us, but the concept allows for a greater degree of encapsulation than traditional portable computers. There are two aspects to this encapsulation:
Solitude: It can function as an information filter, and allow us to block out material we might not wish to experience, whether it be offensive advertising, or simply a desire to replace existing media with different media. In less severe manifestations, it may simply allow us to alter our perception of reality in a very mild sort of way.
Privacy: Mediation allows us to block or modify information leaving the encapsulated space. In the same way that ordinary clothing prevents others from seeing our naked bodies, the wearable computer may , for example, serve as an intermediary for interacting with untrusted systems, such as third party digital anonymous cash cyber wallets .
There are six informational flow paths associated with this new human-machine synergy. The signal flow paths are, in fact, attributes of wearable computing, and are described , that follows, from the humanâ„¢s point of view:
UNMONOPOLIZING of the userâ„¢s attention: it does not cut you off from the outside world like a virtual reality game or the like. You can attend to other matters while using the apparatus. It is built with the assumption that computing will be secondary activity, rather than a primary focus of attention. In fact, ideally, it will provide enhanced sensory capabilities. It may , however , mediate (augment , alter, or deliberately diminish) the sensory capabilities.
UNRESTRICTIVE to the user: ambulatory, mobile, roving, you can do other things while using it,e.g. You can type while jogging, etc
OBSERVABLE by the user: It can get your attention continuously if you want it to. Almost always observable: within reasonable limitations (e.g. that you might not see the screen while you blink or look away momentarily ) the output medium is constantly perceptible by the wearer.
CONTROLLABLE by the user: Responsive. You can grab control of it at any time you wish. Even in automated processes you can manually override to break open the control loop and become part of the loop at any time you want to (example: a big Halt button you want as an application mindlessly opens all 50 documents that were highlighted when you accidentally pressed Enter would make a computer more
CONTROLLABLE. Infinitely-often-controllable: the constancy of user-interface results from almost-always observability and infinitely-often controllability in the sense that there is always a potential for manual override which need not be always exercised.
ATTENTIVE to the environment: Environmentally aware, multimodal, multisensory.(As a result this ultimately gives the user increased situational awareness).
COMMUNICATIVE to others: Can be used as a communications medium when you want it to. Expressive: allows the wearable to be expressive through the medium, whether as a direct communications medium to others, or as means of assisting the production of expressive media (artistic or otherwise).
Followed by the above six properties is that it must also be:
CONSTANT: Always ready. May have sleep modes but never dead. Unlike a laptop computer which must be opened up, switched on, and booted up before use, it is always on and always running.
PERSONAL: Human and computer are inextricably intertwined.
PROSTHETIC: You can adapt to it so that it acts as a true extension of mind and body; after time you forget that you are wearing it.
ASSERTIVE: can have barrier to prohibition or to requests by others for removal during times when you wish such a barrier. This is contrast to laptop computer in briefcase or bag that could be separated from you by a please give all bags and briefcases at the counter policy of a department store, library, or similar establishment.
PRIVATE: others canâ„¢t observe or control it unless you let them. Others canâ„¢t determine system status unless you want them to, e.g. clerk at refund counter in department store where photography is prohibited canâ„¢t tell whether or not you are transmitting wireless video to a spouse for remote advice, in contrast to camcorder technology where it is obvious you are taking a picture when you hold it up to your eye.
Existential technology means the computer is controlled by the wearer. This control need not require continuous thought, but the locus of control must be such that it is entirely within the wearerâ„¢s domain. The user must also potentially know the functionality of the apparatus. Furthermore, the apparatus provides the wearer with the ability to make its operation secure and completely private when desired. In addition to the obvious privacy afforded and eudaemonic nature, the output can be made private when desired by.
LEAVING THE DIGITAL FABRIC
As with all clothes computerized apparel starts with the proper thread. Cotton, polyester or rayon donâ„¢t have the needed properties to carry the electrical current needed for digital clothing. However, metallic yarns are not new to the clothing industry. We have seen these metallic fabrics worn to make fashion statements for years. Researchers at MITâ„¢s Media Lab are using silk organza, a unique fabric that has been used to make clothes in India at least a century.
Silk organza is ideal for computerized clothing because it is made with two fibers that make it conductive to electricity. The first fiber is an ordinary silk thread , running in the opposite direction of the fiber is silk thread that is wrapped in a thin copper foil. Itâ„¢s this copper foil that gives the silk organza the ability to conduct electricity. Copper is a very good conductor of electricity and some microprocessor manufactures are beginning to use copper to speed up microprocessors.
The metallic yarn is prepared just like cloth core telephone wire, according to the MIT researchers. If you cut open a coiled telephone cable, thereâ„¢s usually a conductor that is made out of a sheet of copper wrapped round a core of nylon or polyester threads. These metallic yarn can withstand high temperatures, the yarn can be sewn or embroidered using industrial machinery. This property makes it very promising for mass producing computerized clothing.
A strip of the fabric would basically function like a ribbon of cable. Ribbon cables are used in computers to connect disk drives to controllers. One problem with using silk organza would result if the circuits were to touch each other, therefore MIT scientists use an insulating material to coat or support the fabric.
Once the fabric is cut into suitable shape, other components need to be attached to the fabric, like resistors, capacitors and coils. These components are directly sewn to the fabric. Additional components such as LEDâ„¢s, crystals, piezo transducers, other surface mount components, if needed, are soldered directly onto the metallic yarn which the developers say is an easy process. Other electronic devices can be snapped into the fabric by using some kind of gripper snaps, which pierce the yarn to create an electrical contact. These devices can then easily removed in order to clean the fabric.
At Georgia Tech, researchers have developed another kind of thread to make smart clothes. Their smart shirt, which we will look at the next section, is made of plastic optical fibers and other specialty fibers woven into the fabric. These optical and electrical conductive fibers will allow the shirt to wirelessly communicate with the other devices, transferring data from the sensors embedded in the shirt.
How do you operate a wear comp ? What sort of software do you use in it ? What do you use it as input and output devices ? Where do you store data ? How do you store them? All these are common questions that would arise in someone new to wear comp. Below given are brief answers to such common questions.
The commonly used operating system on a wearable computer is WOS(wear comp OS). Red hat and GNU Linux can be run in close coordination as an operating system too. Various software mostly GNU freeware such as GIMP (GNU image modulation program) as well as various calender and planning programs can be run on a wearable computer.
Prices of wearable computers tend to be in thousands of dollars whether you buy old or new. An alternative approach is to assemble a low cost system. For example, you can buy an old computer that has NTSC output and connect to small CRT from camera. Some such complete wearable computer systems have been built for as little cost.
DISPLAY: A major part of the total cost of the wearable computer system lies in its display unit. VGA display tend to increase the cost of the system to very high extend. So in design of cheaper models, NTSC resolution is used. This normally is too low to display VGA image. There are very good vedio camera viewfinders that can display 24 text, on 80 characters each. While many of the modern LCD viewfinders are not capable to display 24 text, there are a good many older black and white viewfinders that can display a 24 text and clear 80*24 screen, and many can be had for $10 or less.
One of the commonly used display nowadays is the personal monitor. The personal monitor before is unique eyeglass mounted display that creates a high resolution color image in the userâ„¢s eyesight. The PM presents a video image equivalent to a screen from 6.5 feet distance. The image covers only 5% of the vision and allows to see the surrounding also. The PM is easy to use, it can be plugged into the video and power in seconds and appear on the ultra lightweight display.
Â¢ High resolution color video image
Â¢ Image that appears in the personâ„¢s line of sight
Â¢ Viewing angle comparable to viewing a 26 monitor from 2 meters (6.5 feet) away
Â¢ Ultra light-weight, no major disturbance in the eyesight
The personal monitor projects a high resolution color video image that appears in the personâ„¢s line of sight in a viewing angle comparable to viewing a 26 0r from 2 meters away. The video image is see around, it covers only the area in which the image appears, otherwise users are free to view the surrounding environment. Personal monitor provides an added convenience by maintaining the image the wearer is looking. While the PM provides a constantly available image in the personâ„¢s line of sight, it enables to maintain focus and attention it keeps the integrity of the corresponding environment. The advantage will be immediate in decreased processing time and increased precision. The personal monitor is a monoscopic biocular display with completely narrow field of view. The personal monitor can receive video signals from any source. The signals are converted in the controller unit into signals driving the electronics of the LCD display. The PM takes standard video signals and displays them on TFT LCD display that can be connected to any video source.
The PM consists of a monitor block, eye glasses, cable and controller box. The monitor block contains the display, a back light and its driver for the LCD and the lenses and mirrors that projects the display image into the retina of the eyes. Light beams coming from the display are reflected in two directions by the dividing mirrors placed in front of the display.
The monitor block has a mounting slot that fits into the vertical nosepiece of the eyeglasses. The controller box contains the video input modulator unit and the driving electronics of the LCD display. The LCD directs the display, control signals are send through a flexible shielded cabled to the display. The glasses have adjustable temple pieces and each unit comes with a commercially available 9 volt AC-DC adaptor.
If you are going on the cheap, a collection of pushbutton micro switches are used as keyboards. At the higher end, you can get a twiddler from Hand key, or keyboard from info grip. You can connect micro switches that enable you to plug directly into the keyboard port if you see a BAT KEYBOARD. A combination keyboard that weighs 4 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand. The twiddler 2 is an existing technology of wearable computing.
Many hard drives commonly used in laptop computers can withstand operational shock, it is common to go jogging while editing, and sometimes shoot momentary video while on horse back or riding a mountain bike down the center of a line bumping over every railway tie, and capturing the experience on a hard drive. It is possible to carry enormous amount of hard drive space on your body. Prof Martin has 36GB of hard drive installed in his wear. One of his waist bag systems contain 2GB of hard drive space and 512MB of RAM.
BATTERIES OF WEARCOMP
Low cost batteries
Early versions of wear comp used lead acid batteries. Later versions used Li-Ion camcorder batteries. Lead acid batteries are typically available surplus. For constant application you will want to obtain at least two 12 Volt batteries.
High performance batteries
Li-Ion camcorder batteries are commercially available. A minimum of two batteries is required for constant running 12Volt batteries
These are used in order to keep the voltage of Li-Ion batteries constant as output voltage drops significantly, with usage from a full charge. Another reason for constant voltage is that various components of WearComp require different voltages. .
Wisely designed technology can properly address the concern for humanistic property, and therefore need not be focused on external control just like taming with a piece of itself!. In fact, the fundamental use of wearcomp may very well in personal empowerment of the individual. Smart computing will allow us to explore all potential of many modern technologies and ideas without wanting us to sacrifice freedom or privacy. Instead of current vision of smart floors, smart light switches, toilets, smart elevators, smart furniture and other smart technologies that watch us correspond to our actions, what we will witness is the emergence of smart people.
Mediated/augmented reality: - It is the ability of the computer to offer enhanced presentations of reality to the user. The application of the augmented reality lies in adding to your perceptual field. To aid in repairing a broken photocopier, an overlay of the internal structure of the photocopier can be put in the repairing personâ„¢s visual field, and thus can help him in his work.
MediWear :- It closely monitors the wearerâ„¢s body functions and the moment that any one of them becomes critical, the pre-defined medical unit is notified remotely. It is closely related to Blind Vision expect for the fact that the transmitted signals are internal and they are relayed on to an external source.
ENGear :- Electronics News Gathering Wearable System introduces the sense of community and implies the existance of a group to which the user might want to offer his/her sensory impressions.
Blind Vision :- It is a personalized radar system that is integrated in close-fitting vest which is able to process object in the vicinity of the wearer is a benefit for visually impaired persons. Returned waves from the said object are transformed by the wearable computer and send over to the vest, which sends electric stimuli to the wearer. Closer objects exhibit stronger pressure via stronger current, while object further away accordingly output milder current. Any cyclist, motorcyclist or professional who has to work on the open environment would appreciate this invention.
Smart eyeglasses :- It would not appreciably obstruct the wearerâ„¢s vision, or otherwise be encumbering, so that, for example, the wearer could play a competitive game of volleyball wearing the apparatus. It would not look unsightly. Ideally it would not be visible.
Smart shoes :- Inside the shoes there is an array of transducers that picks up the impact upon the ground. The shoes supplies the personal-worn computer with information about how the feet are impacting on the ground, and this information could be used to control an external process in an intimate manner.
Smart cards and badges :- WearCam is a simple apparatus for effortless capture , display, processing and transmission of visual imagery. WearCam viewfinder goes beyond merely setting the camera correctly. Since the apparatus is worn on an extended period of time, one adapts to it, and it begin to function as a true extension of body. In this way, the viewfinder transcends being just a composition toward allowing the camera to become the eye of the wearer. A creative application WearCam is in personal documentary. The question of privacy is often raised with respect to WearCam. The apparatus suggests that shopkeepers and customers alike, police and ordinary citizens alike, etc.. must respect the possibility that they could be caught on camera. With WearCam nobody will know whether or not a particular person is wearing a camera, as the present (and future) units are so small that they cannot be detected.
Homographic modeling :- The flow field of a rigid planar patch in the scene is tracked, and virtual objects are inserted. In this way a virtual Post-It note may be left on any flat surface will be seen only by the recipient trough WearCam.
Safety net :- A further improvement to the personal safety device includes the use of biosensors where the quotient of heart rate divided by foot step rate. Suppose that someone were to draw a gun and demand cash from the wearer. The likely scenario is that the wearerâ„¢s hear rate would increase without an increase in the foot step rate to explain it. Such an occurrence would be programmed to trigger may be Iâ„¢m in distress message to other members of the personal safety network.
Sensors, which measure heart rate (and waveform), respiration, footstep rate (and waveform), and even carry the entire medical history.
Wearcomp allows playing music to be disappear into clothing and be integrated in a more natural manner.
The development of digital yarn opens up the opportunity for an entire computerized clothing industry. In the next decade, we will likely to see the wide range of apparel enter the consumer market. Several companies are already exploring the ability of putting us in the designer computerized clothing, including Levi, Philips, Nike and Sensa Tex. In Europe, Levi has already tested marketing the musical jacket developed by MIT Media Lab.
Leviâ„¢s musical jacket is made with the silk organza and is controlled with fabric capacitive key board. This keyboard has been mass-produced using ordinary embroidery techniques and conductive thread. The keypad is flexible, durable, and sensitive to touch. A printed circuit is used to give the keypad a sensing ability, so that control reacts when pressed. The keypad can sense touch due to the increase in capacitance of the electrode, when touched. The keypads are connected to miniature synthesizer that plays music. Power could be supplied by a parasitic power source as solar power, wind, temperature or mechanical energy from turning wrists or leg. Further out researchers are looking for fabrics capable of generating power.
Another all-fabric keyboard being developed by the MIT Media Lab uses conductive material sewn together in a row and column addressable structure. The final product looks like a quilt that has been pieced together in a square form. The quilted conductive columns are insulated and form the conductive rows with thick fabric like felt or velvet. Holes in the insulating fabric allow the row and column conductors to make contact when a user presses down on the keyboard. Shirts and other clothes using this keyboard can be thrown in the washing machine just like an ordinary piece of clothing.
While the musical jacket is an example for how computerized clothes are used for entertainment, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a practical and medical purpose for this technology. The smart shirt can monitor heart and breathing rates by using optical and electric conductive fibers that are sewn into the fabric of the shirt.
The smart shirt project at Georgia Tech was originally financed by the navy, beginning in 1999. At that time the shirt was being designed for soldiers in combat, so that medical personnel could find the exact location of a bullet wound. To pinpoint the location of the bullet penetration, a light signal is continually be sent from one end of the optical fiber to a receiver on the other end. This fiber is also connected to a personal status monitor worn on the hip. If the light from the emitter does not reach the receiver inside the monitor, this signals that the soldier has been shot. The light signal then bounces back to the point of penetration, which helps doctors to find the exact location of the bullet wound.
MAN POWERED WEARCOMP
Batteries add size, weight, and inconvenience to present-day mobile technology. Thus wearcomp technology explores the possibility of harnessing the energy expended during wearerâ„¢s everyday actions to generate power for his or her computer, thus eliminating the use of batteries. An analysis of power generation through leg motion is generated in depth and a survey of other methods such as generation by breath or blood pressure, body heat, and finger and limb motion is also presented.
Wearable computer is an effort to make computers truly part of our day lives by embedding them into our clothing or creating form factors that can be used like clothing. This level of access to computation will revolutionize how computers are used. Although the computational hardware has been reduced in size to accommodate this vision, power systems are still bulky and inconvenient. Even todayâ„¢s PDAs ( personal digital assistants ) are often limited by battery capacity, current and the necessity of having an electrical outlet within easy access computing, However, if energy can be generated by the userâ„¢s actions, these problems can be alleviated.
At this point, a review of vocabulary and units is in order. Energy is used as the capacity to do the work. A joule is the product of a force of one Newton acting at a distance of one meter. The calorie, which is 4.19 joules, is also often used as a unit of energy. However, in dietary circles, a Calorie refers to a kilocalorie or 1000 joules. Therefore an average adult diet of 2500 Calories translates to 10.5 mega joules.
People are carrying more and more electronic products: mobile phones, personal hi-fis etc. Smart clothing is a combination of electronics and clothing textiles. These intelligent clothes are worn like ordinary clothing and will help in various situations according to the designed application. A piece of clothing works and helps actively to carry out a mission such as drying. A piece of clothing usually dries hanging, it requires a certain time to dry, so this means a passive drying . Active drying can be accomplished with humidity sensor which notices humidity growing up and puts heating on. Therefore dissipating of water is more effective. Active characters of smart clothing can be heating, cooling, changing of color and active drying. The intimate nature of clothing is that it is always with us and that we select it of our own accord, suggests a new trend or Ëœsmartnessâ„¢ on people.
Â¢ Steve Mann. Wearable computing: A first step toward personal imaging I EEE Computer, Feb 1997
Â¢ Joseph Hoshen, Jim Sennot .Keeping tabs on criminals I EEE SPECTRUM, Feb 1995
I express my sincere gratitude to Dr.Nambissan, Prof. & Head, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, MES College of Engineering, Kuttippuram, for his cooperation and encouragement.
I would also like to thank my seminars guide Mrs. Shyma Muhammed (Lecturer, Department of EEE), Asst. Prof. Gylson Thomas. (Staff in-charge, Department of EEE) for their invaluable advice and wholehearted cooperation without which this seminars would not have seen the light of day.
Gracious gratitude to all the faculty of the department of EEE & friends for their valuable advice and encouragement.